Why don't I connect to my local data center?

I am outside DC and my ping for East US is 2, North central 21. South Central 33.
Every ranked match I play my ping is 25+ and pretty consistently everyone else in the match is higher.
I set my matchmaking preference to “Lower Ping” and nothing changed. I still regularly get 3 digit pings in my matches. In one match, I was a single digit ping, the hundreds of other times, I haven’t been.
When I play quickmatch though, I’m often a ping of 1.
Why??? Why don’t I connect to the East US center for ranked?? I’m guessing I connect to South Central since it is all spanish speakers which I cannot communicate at all with. Does nobody in DC, Baltimore, Richmond, even NYC play this game?
I was having fun with this game again, but now I’m very frustrated again.